-Helpful. -Absolutely required. I wold be lost without one. -I would likely only write a business plan if the bank asks me for one. -Business plans are a lot of work and not as useful as actual working on the business.
My first business plan was like giving blood. I knew I should give blood, but getting to the point of actually doing it gave rise to the procrastinator in me. I am not different than other people: I avoid doing the things I do not like. Writing a business plan was one of those things I knew I needed, but it seemed like a lot of work and what use would it be to me? I had no idea how valuable the process of committing my lans to writing would become. I tried all sorts of shortcuts using templates and software that was supposed to simplify the process; but I still found that something was lacking, and I did not feel confident with the content of my business plan.
I discovered that the shortcomings I experienced writing a business plan were not that much different than what most people experienced. In the beginning I did not understand financial statements, and when I looked at samples of pro forma financial projections I felt overwhelmed. Add to that the lack of structure and a guide to help me navigate the sea of words, I was intimidated. The other stumbling block was that I did not know what I know. There was important information stuck in my head that I did not know needed to be in the business plan.
Put it all together and the whole thing seemed daunting. I found myself in procrastination mode, which came with a fair bit of guilt because I had made a promise to myself that I would "do it right" and complete a business plan.